Tuesday, 29 March 2011

I, the Pilgrim

I am currently reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Annie Dillard is famous for dwelling on the natural experiences of life and spinning deep and profound philosophy and theology from them. However, though she is cerebral, as  any writer tends to be, she chooses to throw herself back into the real, into the world. She does not remain in the mind, and I cannot help but admire that. It strikes me as extraordinarily practical and boldly imaginative at the same time.

"All right, then. Pull yourself together. Is this where I'm spending my life, in the "reptile brain," this lamp at the top of the spine like a lighthouse flipping mad beams indiscriminately into the darkness, into the furred thoraxes of moths, onto the backs of leaping fishes and the wrecks of schooners? Come up a level; surface."

- Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Skype Is a Wonderful Thing

I just talked to my friend Diane on Skype. We talked about periodic table shower curtains and iPads and how the future is here and how nobody is geeking out.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Great White World of Winter

  Someone snapped a picture of me kneeling on the lake. The whiteness and the vastness.
 I was sliding on the ice road on our hike to the gorge.
Defeating the boys in an all-out snowball fight. (I'm the one in a crouching-tiger-hidden-dragon kind of pose.)

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Sit on a potato pan, Otis!

Some things that I will have when I have a house...

1. a treasure chest

2. a room that looks like a captain's cabin

3. a tree in the garden, big enough to fit a bed I can plant moss and creeping vines in

Writer's Retreat Repeat

I am at the writer's retreat again! It has been two years since the writers of the English department, accompanied by Professor Debra Rienstra, Professor Vande Kopple, and Professor Gary Schmidt all got together and rode in a bus for four hours. We arrived last night and trekked through the dark to get to the house by the lake. We had a writing competition for best haiku, howled at the moon to deserve our dinner, had discussion about why we write, and then I went to bed.

Today we had a massive snowball fight. Boys versus girls. The other girls headed for the highest ground before the boys descended on us from all angles and corners. Elaine and I were the only ones in the fray, which, I had to say, is the best place to be. I shoveled snow on Gary as he was coming up the stairs and I hit a lot of people with my killer arm. I think they were sufficiently impressed.

We also walked around on the frozen lake, worked on non-fiction creative pieces, had a fabulous dinner of chicken, salmon, rice, freshly baked bread, and salad with strawberries and poppy seed dressing. For dessert I had two brownies. It was all well-deserved and delicious.

After dinner, we had the Bulwer-Lytton competition: Write the Best Worst Beginning Line of a Piece of Fiction. Edward George Bulwer-Lytton is famous for his novel Paul Clifford which begins like this:
It was a dark and stormy night--the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating that scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.
My good friend Alicia won the contest. Here is her winning line.
The relationship ended, she realized, the day he had shaved his beard--oh that magnificent beard, which preceded him with proud protuberance, putting the bushy tails of sleek squirrels to such a shame that they brought offerings of winter-aged nuts while weeping over their inadequacy--and every time she looked upon the balded chin bereft of the masculine, yet tender, homage to Sampson's strength, she was overcome with a poignant pain that overshadowed her once all consuming love.
Bart Tocci, who has his own well-groomed (and red!) beard laughed so hysterically he cried.

And that's all I have to say about that.